Photo: Meric makes a point as Dr. Raphael Perl, director of the Partnership for Peace Consortium, listens. (DOD Photo/U.S. Air Force Maj. Kimberly Garbett)
GARMISCH PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – Security and defense issues took center stage during a conference in Istanbul May 27-30 organized by the Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes.
Greater Black Sea area experts representing 13 countries including Turkey, Russia and the United States gathered at Kadir Has University for “New Security Challenges in the Greater Black Sea Area: Towards a Cooperative Agenda.” Issues discussed included: energy security, critical infrastructure protection, transnational organized crime and cyber-security.
Of particular note was the presence of all the greater Black Sea countries at the event. The 52 experts present included representatives of Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Moldova, Romania, the Russian Federation, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States. The conference was the first consortium event to bring together government officials from Turkey, the Russian Federation and the United States.
Dmitry Balakin, head of the NATO/European security section, Department of European Cooperation, for Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said the talks had purpose.
“We are in a period of global transformation and struggling with an economic turndown affecting many countries,” he said. “It will take collective, coordinated efforts, in particular regional efforts of the GBSA in concert with the international arena, to create wide partnership networks to achieve the effects needed and to enhance overall regional stability.”
The conference centered on enhancing cooperation in response to new security challenges, threats and sources of risk facing the region, according to conference attendee Maj. Kimberly Garbett, international programs manager for the consortium.
“Cooperative responses which take into account the interests and priorities of all regional stakeholders were developed,” she said.
Ahmet Bulent Meric, director general for international security affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, talked about the region’s worth.
“We see that the (Greater Black Sea Area) has a growing strategic importance, thanks to its geo-political, geo-economic and geo-cultural dynamics,” he stated. “Stability and security in the wider Black Sea area is very much tied up with the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian stability and security. Any change in the security and stability paradigm of the region would have rippling effects in the neighboring regions.”
The Center for International and European Studies, Kadir Has University, Harvard University’s Black Sea Security Program and the Partnership for Peace Consortium organized the event.
In addition to being one of the organizations which participates in the consortium, the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies also hosts the consortium operations staff, and the consortium's administrative center. Retired Lt. Gen. Keith W. Dayton, Marshall Center director, serves as the executive director of the consortium’s governing structure.
(Report compiled by the Marshall Center public affairs office.)